Tyson Fury scored the biggest upset of the year as he dethroned Wladimir Klitschko’s dominate ten-year reign as the best fighter in the heavyweight division, en route to a twelve round, unanimous decision by two scores of 115-112 and one score of 116-111, at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf, Germany, in front of 55,000 mostly pro-Klitschko fans. Fury improved to 25-0, 18 KOs and with the victory, gained the IBO, WBA, IBF, and WBO world title belts. Klitschko dropped to 64-4, 53 KOs and lost for the first time in 23 bouts – a streak that has spanned over eleven and a half years.
“This is a dream come true. I worked so hard for this,” said Fury. “You know, it has been six months of every day in the gym for this. I just can’t believe that I got him.”
This was an extremely boring, sloppy, and at times, an ugly bout in which there wasn’t a great deal of offensive output from either fighter; however, the massive underdog Fury wanted the fight more. He dictated the offense and was the aggressor throughout the bout. According to Compubox statistics, both fighters connected on 23 percent of their punches, but Fury threw more shots than Klitschko (371 to 231), out landed him (87 to 52), and connected on more power punches (48 to 18).
“I was prepared very well. Tyson was very quick and energetic. I never thought he could do it,” said Klitschko. “I felt I lacked quickness and never found the right distance. This also had to do with his reach. Not much worked. I knew I was behind, but I didn’t have the recipe. Actually, I felt confident, but I couldn’t find the right key.”
Fury out boxed Klitschko in the early going and displayed a great jab. In the fifth round, he cut Klitschko over the left eye from an accidental clash of heads. Fury’s nonstop head movement, different feints, great footwork, and constant movement around the ring – in which he switched from southpaw to orthodox fighting stance – prevented Klitschko from getting into any kind of offensive rhythm. Fury control the action in the middle rounds, as he landed crisper, more accurate and powerful punches, while Klitschko barely threw any punches, let alone his patented jab, and left and right hooks.
He gained confidence in the later rounds, as he taunted Klitschko to hit him and even put his arms behind his head on several occasions, as he invited Klitschko to fight him. Yet, Klitschko didn’t take the bait and seemed content on following Fury around the ring, throwing one punch at a time. Fury staggered Klitschko in the ninth round with a massive left hook following a decent exchange from both fighters in which Klitschko landed two good right hooks. He then opened up another cut above Klitschko’s right eye that began to bleed and he landed a big left hook that stunned Klitschko in the eleventh. Fury was deducted a point in that same round from excessive shots to the back of the head, for which he was repeatedly warned by referee Tony Weeks. Klitschko finally showed some offense in the twelfth round as he landed two consecutive powerful right hooks that hurt Fury, yet it was too little too late for him to rally back into this bout.
For some inconceivable reason, Klitschko didn’t throw any meaningful punches in this bout despite being the better fighter in every facet, the much more powerful puncher, and the vastly experienced boxer. Even in the final rounds, Klitschko’s trainer, fellow heavyweight boxer Jonathan Banks, screamed and swore at him that he was losing the fight and he needed a knockout; however, Klitschko never showed any sense of urgency to picked up the pace and go for a knockout. He only threw a mere four punches a round and landed a mind boggling four power shots to the body and only 18 power shots throughout the fight, something that should never happen from a world champion and top ten pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Maybe Fury did get into Klitschko’s head with all of his pre-fight antics, or father time caught up with him as he nears 40-years-old, or maybe he just had a rare bad night after the third longest reign of a heavyweight champion, in which he made 18 consecutive title defenses, behind Larry Holmes’ 20, and Joe Louis’ 25. Whatever the case might be, there is a new world title holder in the undefeated 27-year-old brash and charismatic Fury, who became the first British heavyweight champion since David Haye, whom Klitschko beat in 2011 for the WBA title. Fury also pulled off one of the great upsets in the heavyweight division. This upset was as stunning as James Braddock beating Max Baer, Muhammad Ali defeating Sonny Liston and George Foreman, and of course, Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson.
There is a rematch clause in the contract, so look for these two to meet again next year in an interest bout that will determine a great deal more about each fighter and the direction that the heavyweight will be headed in.